Today’s security systems integrator deploys a variety of evolving products and services to protect businesses, so it’s understandably hard to fully grasp their role. Even as the technology changes, integrators’ main objective remains the same: to seamlessly coordinate and link various security subsystems to counter ever-increasing physical and cyber threats. They do this by leveraging hardware, software, networks, hybrid IT solutions and specialized security equipment. Most have expertise installing and managing access control elements like gates, doors, locks; video surveillance systems; emergency notification systems, lighting; network security and more.
Why Is a Security Systems Integrator Essential?
Security is one of our most critical business needs. Physical security will always be an important barrier against enterprise theft, vandalism and violence. Cybersecurity continues to be top organizational concern as businesses face a persistent and growing cyber threat. According to Ponemon Institute, the average total cost of a data breach in the U.S. in 2020 registers at $8.64 million – yet typically only 15% of information assets are covered by insurance. It usually takes 280 days to identify and contain a data breach, and 52% are caused by malicious attacks. Think you should be thinking about cyber security? You’re absolutely right.
As the physical and cyber become even more enmeshed through the Internet of Things (IoT), everything from your building’s critical climate control system to its stored sensitive information is vulnerable to attack. Banks and their customers risk large scale heists like credential stuffing and cloud and phishing attacks; our hospitals can be hacked through ransomware to derail life-saving devices like ventilators and businesses in every industry face daily assaults on their mission-critical software.
There are more reasons to invest in security now. In the time of COVID, our healthcare has never been more important – or more subject to cybercriminals. And with so many company employees working from home, managing remote network security and device safety is becoming a logistical nightmare. With every connection comes new vulnerabilities. If you rely on email or web-based platforms like Zoom, Slack, or Google Meet, maintain important digital records – or use a network for your business processes, your physical and cyber security should be a top priority. Security systems integrators can help.
What Do Security Systems Integrators Solve?
Security systems integrators design, install and manage solutions to protect people, data and property. There are wide-ranging versions of what they specifically provide. For instance, some install “out of the box” solutions that are ready made and may meet your needs. Others provide additional services and can help oversee the full lifecycle of your security systems. These integrators can custom-design a security plan for you, and then install, implement, test, manage and maintain your systems. Integrators with a fuller breadth of services and expertise usually adhere to a specific process for creating and managing these systems:
- Assess your security needs with your input
- Devise a comprehensive and holistic security system to address these needs, informed by the use of your current system
- Install hardware, software, networks or other required equipment
- Custom build additional systems if needed
- Train the people that will manage the system at your company
- Provide continuous assessments, upgrades, maintenance and service
As you might imagine, engaging the services of a full-service systems integrator is the surest way to secure your business. Since they understand and deploy your systems from conception to completion, they are able to fully manage and take ownership – and have a strong incentive to provide superior service throughout. Partnering with one team gives you one point of contact and also discourages miscommunication and the finger pointing that often befalls cobbling together various vendors. Finally, a partnership ensures history and continuity throughout the lifecycle, so your integrator will also be very aware of and receptive to your company’s ongoing needs.
How Do I Find the Best Security Systems Integrator for My Needs?
Here are some important questions to ask potential partners:
- Level of Expertise: Security threats are growing exponentially. Are they on top of the latest technology and cyber security strategies? Are they vendor agnostic so you don’t need to worry about them pushing specific brands, and you’ll know that they’ll keep your needs foremost in mind?
- Level of Efficiency: With multiple systems comes the chance to increase efficiencies. Does your security systems integrator recommend linking lighting with access control so that when fewer access cards are swiped in one area of a building, the lights can be adjusted accordingly? Smart moves like this save significant money and energy.
- Level of Service: As your company scales, will they be able to meet your needs?
- Level of IT Smarts: Today’s security systems integrator must be well versed in the cyber as well as the physical security world. As the two converge, it’s essential to master coding, programming, troubleshooting and ongoing maintenance. With the IoT connecting more devices by the minute, vulnerabilities are also expanding crazily. Can your integrator handle these growing threats?
- Culture: Will you work well together? Do your priorities line up? Are you comfortable working with them and do you like them?
- Employee Trustworthiness: Which screenings do they use to ensure that their employees are secure?
- Employee Certifications: Certifications show dedication to excellence.
- Third-party Verified: Do they maintain the right certifications? SSAE16 and ISO-certified data centers help you achieve compliance for HIPAA, SOX, and PCI DSS.
- Manufacturer Relationships: Integrators that enjoy strong partnerships have greater access and can fix issues quicker. Identify their partner status, certifications and direct access to manufacturers’ L3 engineers.
- Datacenter Security: Is their datacenter as secure as possible? Do they use biometric authentication, deploy 24/7 in-person and video monitoring and keep accurate user records? Do they leverage full redundancy and disaster recovery systems?
- Daily Relationship Approach: How will they work with you on a daily basis? Do they have a secure portal for your access to daily security updates, service level reports and troubleshooting requests, as well as easy-to-use communication hubs for feedback and as a repository for best practices?
Finding a security systems integrator is not hard. Finding the right one for you may take a little time, but your security is worth it. Lost downtime, disastrous data breaches and physical threats can destroy your business. On the flip side, you’ll see the ROI in saved data, continuous uptime and overall company credibility.
If you’re looking for a security systems integrator, we’d be happy to talk with you. With over 20 years under our belts, we deeply understand the convergence of IT and physical security and can provide you with the best security solutions available to secure a safe and successful future for your business.